Confused mature business woman suffering from memory loss

Your overall life can be impacted by age-related hearing loss. Not only is your ability to hear impacted, but so too are your social connections, your professional networks, and even your cognitive abilities. Over time, hearing loss can profoundly impact the way your brain works in ways that immediately impact your mood, your memory, and more.

The relationship between cognition and hearing loss isn’t always evident. For example, one of the initial symptoms of hearing loss could be forgetfulness, but individuals rarely think that their memory issues are linked to a loss of hearing. Unfortunately, the truth is that memory loss and hearing loss are closely related.

What’s the connection between memory and hearing loss? Well, the connection is at least in part the result of the unique ways that hearing loss can strain and stress your brain. Your mental abilities will normally improve when you manage your hearing loss.

How memory is impacted by hearing loss

Detecting hearing loss can frequently be challenging. Often, people miss the early warning signs and more subtle symptoms. Hearing loss may only be identified, for individuals in this category, when it becomes more extreme. The progression of hearing loss is usually gradual over time and that’s in part why it’s initially hard to recognize. Individuals frequently begin increasing the volume on their devices more and more and tend to disregard their symptoms.

Another factor is how good the brain is at compensating for loss of sound. Consequently, you may not notice that people are harder to understand. This is beneficial in that you will probably experience fewer interruptions to your daily life. However, compensating like this requires significant brain power. Requiring your brain to work at this level for long durations can lead to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Memory loss or forgetfulness
  • Unexplained irritability

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, we’ll be able to inform you whether the root cause is hearing loss or not. If it’s determined that you’re dealing with hearing loss, we can help you develop the best treatment plan.

Can hearing loss lead to memory issues?

Of course, this mental exhaustion isn’t the only way that hearing loss can affect your brain. Forgetfulness is a common symptom. This is especially true of untreated hearing loss. The cause and effect relationship isn’t entirely understood, but it’s obvious that there is a connection between hearing loss and the following issues:

  • Social isolation: It’s not unusual for people to withdraw from social contact when they have neglected hearing loss. You’ll go out less frequently, chat with the cashier at the supermarket less, and so on. Your brain will often change the way it processes information as a result.
  • Increased risk of dementia: People who have untreated hearing loss often have an increased danger of dementia and mental decline. This risk drops considerably when the hearing loss is treated and managed.
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety: An increase in anxiety and depression due to untreated hearing loss is not unusual according to multiple studies. And once again, when the root hearing loss has been managed, the risk factor drops considerably.

These problems aren’t unrelated, of course. Mental health issues, including depression, can be intensified by social isolation. And your risk of dementia also increases with social isolation.

Can mental decline be caused by hearing loss?

One of the more serious impacts of untreated hearing loss is a marked increase in your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Scientists have a few theories about why this may be, but what’s clear is that management of symptoms helps substantially. In other words, managing your hearing loss has been shown to slow cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life.

How to handle your forgetfulness (and hearing loss)

If your fatigue and forgetfulness are caused by untreated hearing loss, the good news is that treating your hearing loss symptoms can absolutely have a positive impact. In cases where hearing loss is detected, we may suggest the following:

  • Regular screenings: Before any problems start to occur, regular screenings can detect them. Mental strain can be avoided with early treatment.
  • The use of hearing aids: Utilizing a hearing aid can help you hear better. Your social life can be improved and your cognitive abilities will have less strain by using hearing aids. By avoiding and limiting social isolation, your cognition can improve, lowering your risk of dementia, depression, and other problems.
  • Hearing protection: Some of the mental decline previously mentioned can be avoided and further damage can be decreased by the use of hearing protection.

You can improve your memory

If hearing loss is causing you to be a bit forgetful, it’s worthwhile to highlight that it doesn’t have to remain that way. Once the strain on your brain is relieved, your cognitive function, in many cases, will improve. When you hear better, your brain doesn’t need to work so hard, and that rest can do a lot of good.

Making an appointment with us can greatly improve your outlook and decrease your risk for other problems. Contact us today!

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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